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2022 Year in Review

This year did not go as planned, but I can take comfort in that it wasn’t entirely my fault. Even so, it had some successes and progress. I wrote over 232,000 words, but almost all of that happened before October (when I injured my hand). Here’s a breakdown of what happened in 2022:

Heart of Fire series

My first epic fantasy series continues to be my best sellers. In March, the first two books were offered free on Kindle. Each one was downloaded over 1,000 times with very little advertising. While it didn’t result in huge sales of the other two books, I do continue to see more page reads on those two as people get around to reading the free books they downloaded.

2023: I do still plan to put together a box deal offer on this series at some point.

Dragontek Lore series

This was the big one for the year. I’m still amazed that I published three books in the series (Auric, Onyx, and Amaranth) in the course of one year. My plan had been to publish the next one (Atramentous) at the end of the year, but like so many things in the final quarter, that got derailed.

2023: In some ways, though, it’s a good thing. I think Atramentous needs some more re-writes as the penultimate book in the series. Right now, I’m tentatively hoping to release it late in the first quarter of the year, followed by the FINAL book in the series, Chroma, sometime later in the summer or fall.

New fantasy series

This accounted for most of my writing time in 2022. I wrote the first draft of this new book (tentative title Bloodless in the sidebar – that will be changing) from May through September, and I loved every minute of it. Since then (and the injury), I have been slowly editing and revising it into the shape it needs to be. In my optimistic view from late 2021, I thought this one might come out for Christmas this year. If it had, however, it would not have been as good as it will be. The new revisions are making it better, deepening both the world and the story.

2023: I’m not sure which will be published first: this one or the newest Dragontek. I want to make sure the launch of this book is something special. But it will be sooner rather than later. Ideally, I want it out before Comicpalooza in May. I’ll probably release some excerpts to this list sometime early in the new year. I’m also looking forward to writing the sequel.

Live Events

Comicpalooza 2022 was fantastic, the biggest live event I’ve done by far. I had planned to do more here toward the end of the year, but injury and weather prevented it.

2023: I’m already registered for Comicpalooza 2023! Beyond that, I hope to do at least a couple more events in the year.

Summary

By the end of 2023, the Dragontek Lore series will be complete. At least one book in the new series will be in your hands. And I’ll be talking about the next big thing, whatever that is. I do have some ideas, so we’ll see where they lead…

Amaranth arrives! Two free books!

Amaranth, book five in the Dragontek Lore series, releases today! To celebrate, the first two books in the series are FREE to download this week only!

Cover & Pre-orders for Amaranth!

Amaranth, book 5 in the Dragontek Lore series, launches next Monday, October 17! Check out this awesome cover and then the pre-order page right here!

Beryl’s quest to end the rule of the dragons faces new complications!

Not one, but two different dragons appear to know all about Beryl and his friends. Both wish to use him for their own ends, one with persuasion and the other with blackmail. Can Beryl navigate a path between the intrigue to protect his friends and yet still defeat the dragons?

Complicating every step of the way is the female dragon, Amaranth. Whose side is she on? And when Beryl enters her home alone, can he emerge unscathed?

Bloodless growing

I keep resetting the progress bar over on the right. My new epic fantasy, Bloodless, is cruising along, and the end is in sight. But… as I look at what’s left, I keep revising the word count upward. I’m still writing over 1,000 words/day, but it’s not always reflected, because I increase the target word count. It started at 130,000, and has slowly moved up to 160,000 now. And it might be longer than that!

This is the longest book I’ve written, the most epic, and… I think the best. I can’t wait for readers to see if they agree with me.

I get distracted

A friend noticed that my editing bar for Amaranth in the right column over there hasn’t budged much lately. But the writing bar for Bloodless is moving every day, isn’t it?

That’s my problem. I get so into the creation of a new story (in this case, Bloodless), that I neglect my other duties as a writer. No, “neglect” isn’t quite the right word. I just don’t want to do it. I don’t want to edit a different story. I don’t want to work on marketing for the earlier stories. I want to write this NEW story.

As an independent author, this is something I need to work on. I need a better balance of my time and efforts, regardless of what I “want” to do. Discipline. It’s everyone’s problem.

If only this new story wasn’t so cool…

Tolkien, the Master of Words

I was reading The Two Towers to my daughter last night and paused when I hit this sentence.

Look at it. It’s brilliant. From the two separate uses of alliteration to the gorgeous metaphor at the end, it’s an absolutely masterful sentence.

“Disheveled dryad loveliness.” Who thinks of such incredible words and then buries them at the end of a long paragraph of description? JRR Tolkien, that’s who.

I looked up the passage in question in Christopher Tolkien’s History of Middle-Earth. There’s no indication that his father spent any extra time revising this particular sentence or even this paragraph. It flowed from his pen, as naturally as anything.

Many modern readers complain that The Lord of the Rings is too slow, full of way too much description and history. I contend they’re not reading carefully. This sentence, regardless of anything around it, is flat out breathtaking.

That, my friends, is why JRR Tolkien is the master. 

Bloodless Update

I am making excellent progress on my new epic fantasy novel, tentative title Bloodless

As an aside, I’m not completely happy with that title. I’ve explored five or six more so far, but haven’t been able to decide. I probably won’t settle the question until the first draft is done, at least. Bloodless may end up being the title of the series.

I’m starting to think of this book as Gladiator meets The Name of the Wind. The protagonist’s life story is being told in lengthy flashbacks, showing how he ended up an arena fighter slave with an unusual magical ability. That ability has the potential to threaten the entire power structure of the Empire. But our protagonist is not interested in anything other than earning his freedom. He’s not the “chosen one.” In fact, to win his freedom, his final arena duel is against this world’s “chosen one.” What will he do?

The progress bar over on the right showed the book almost halfway through yesterday. Today, it’s dropped to 42%. That’s because I’ve realized the book is going to be longer than I originally estimated (and may still be longer than my new estimate!). Right now, I’m aiming for a length similar to the Heart of Fire books.

If all goes according to plan, you’ll be able to read this by the end of this year or very early next year.

Keep reading!

Onyx RELEASE DAY!

Onyx, book 4 of Dragontek Lore, is available today!

(Ebook only. Paperback is running a day or two behind at the moment)

Viridia is FREE this week!

FREE FOR FIVE DAYS!! Viridia, the beginning of the Dragontek Lore series, is now absolutely FREE on Amazon. Three words: Evil. Cyborg. Dragons. What else do you need to know?

Onyx Cover Reveal & Pre-Orders!

Behold Onyx, the fourth book in the Dragontek Lore series (and the fourth dragon to get his name and likeness on the cover – they’re all such egomaniacs). This guy is terrifying. Austin DeGroot went above and beyond with this one! Pre-orders available now!! Official release date: May 23.

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